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Blogs from June, 2021

Can You Get PTSD from a Motorcycle Accident?


Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that affects individuals who have experienced or witnessed trauma. Though commonly associated with military service members, specifically those who have seen combat, anyone who has gone through a violent or traumatic event may develop the disorder.

PTSD is relatively common in victims of motor vehicle accidents, including those involved in motorcycle crashes. However, many victims do not realize that what they are experiencing is, in fact, post-traumatic stress disorder. They may attribute symptoms to stress, anxiety, or even their physical injuries. While all of these things may play a role in the challenges a motorcyclist experiences after a serious collision, the underlying cause of some symptoms could be PTSD.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of PTSD?

There are many warning signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder; every individual is affected somewhat differently by the condition.

However, PTSD symptoms generally fall under one of four specific categories:

  • Intrusive Thoughts: Intrusive thoughts include “flashbacks,” vivid or distressing dreams involving the traumatic event, and involuntary memories. Often, people may experience intrusive thoughts, dreams, or memories that are so strong, it feels as though they are reliving the experience or like it is “flashing before their eyes.”
  • Avoiding Reminders of the Event: This may include compulsive, involuntary, and/or purposeful avoidance of various reminders of the traumatic event. Such reminders include people, places, situations, activities, physical objects, or even thoughts about what happened. Those suffering from PTSD may avoid talking about or bringing up memories of the event.
  • Changes in Memory, Cognition, and Mood: Some people with PTSD may be unable to remember parts of the event or the event in its entirety. They may experience negative feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anger, and/or detachment. Often, they will lose interest in once-enjoyable activities and may find it difficult or impossible to experience positive emotions.
  • Changes in Reactivity: People with PTSD may become increasingly irritable or be more prone to angry outbursts. Others may feel that the person is “overreacting” to various events, or they may notice unusual patterns of suspicion, paranoia, recklessness, self-destructive behavior, or difficulties sleeping or concentrating.

Many people who have been involved in serious motor vehicle accidents experience some or all of these symptoms. However, an individual must experience symptoms that last for over a month and cause significant disruption in their lives to be diagnosed with PTSD.

Sadly, many individuals with PTSD struggle with debilitating symptoms for months or even years. Most often, initial symptoms appear within one to three months of a traumatic event, but they may not appear until later in some cases. When this occurs, it is even less likely that the individual will seek the professional attention they need, as they are less likely to recognize that what they are experiencing is, in fact, post-traumatic stress disorder.

How Does PTSD Manifest After a Motorcycle Accident?

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects different people in different ways. It may also manifest differently depending on the type of traumatic event a person has experienced.

For many motorcycle accident victims, PTSD appears in the following ways:

  • Reliving or having flashbacks of the accident
  • Nightmares involving the crash
  • Experiencing distressing or even frightening thoughts
  • Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
  • Feeling easily startled or always alert to possible dangers
  • Inability to remember parts of the accident or the entire accident
  • Avoiding riding or avoiding riding in the area where the collision occurred
  • Resisting thinking about or talking about the crash
  • Increased feelings of anger or irritability
  • Feeling “out of control” or unable to regulate emotions
  • Difficulty remembering things, concentrating, or focusing
  • Engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as excessive drinking or drug use

Many of these symptoms are normal after a motorcycle accident. However, if your symptoms do not go away after a month, if they appear or become worse after several months have gone by, or if they are significantly disrupting your life or putting you or others in danger, it’s time to seek psychiatric or medical attention. Treatment—and healing—are possible with the right care.

How Is PTSD Treated?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable. In fact, PTSD treatments often work very well in helping people understand and manage the disorder.

The goal of PTSD treatment is to improve symptoms and provide individuals with the tools and skills to adjust to and manage their PTSD. Typically, those with PTSD will undergo some type of psychotherapy or a combination of multiple types of therapy. In addition, they may be prescribed medications to help manage some of the associated symptoms of the condition.

Most PTSD treatments are considered types of cognitive behavioral therapy. Common treatments include:

  • Cognitive processing therapy
  • Prolonged exposure therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Stress inoculation training

After your doctor has provided a diagnosis, he or she can recommend treatment based on your unique situation. Treatment plans are typically customized to meet the needs of each individual.

Can You Recover Compensation for PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is not only extremely difficult to navigate, but it is also very expensive to treat. You may experience significant disruptions in your life, from difficulties at home to challenges in the workplace or at school.

The good news is that you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering related to your condition. In Louisiana, motorcycle accident victims can seek financial recovery by proving that the other driver (or another party) was at fault for the collision. Victims can then file claims against the other party’s insurance provider and/or sue the at-fault party in court. This is true even when the injured motorcyclist was partially to blame for the crash.

How The Womac Law Firm Can Help

We understand just how challenging it is to heal and move forward from a serious motorcycle accident. In addition to your physical injuries and financial losses, you are likely experiencing an array of mental and emotional difficulties as a result of the accident. At The Womac Law Firm, we believe that you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering.

Our New Orleans motorcycle accident attorneys represent victims of serious motor vehicle collisions throughout Louisiana, offering caring, personalized, and attentive legal services every step of the way. We know how to build powerful claims that clearly detail all of your damages, including your losses related to PTSD or another condition.

Contact us today at (504) 470-3935 to learn more. Your initial consultation is free, and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case.

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